other tips from an other Italian:
“With any type of pasta, if when you bite you can still see a white “core”, that means it is not done. The white core is pasta that has not been hydrated yet.” that’s generally right.
First, you have to distinguish what type of pasta you have. And mainly which kind of flour has been used. The main used are
- a. durum wheat flour (used for dry pasta, orecchiette, semolino, couscous, some type of bread)
- b. soft wheat flour (and also chopped finer, called 00 flour from the extent of the tool for chopping, used for sweets, cakes, fresh pasta, like taglierini, tagliatelle, ravioli, agnolotti, lasagne, trenette [with pesto])
- c. a dough prepared with two-thirds of buckwheat flour (grano saraceno), which denotes their gray color, and a third of wheat flour (pizzoccheri)
- d. many other different types of flour, regional specific, or specific for some special preparations,most of all sweeties and cakes specials (pasta di mandorle).
The cooking depends on the type of flour used, on the texture, on the purpose and the results you want.
a. The dry pasta, made with durum wheat flour, have to be cooked “al dente”.
(!) You need a tall, narrow pot, plenty of water up to 2/3 of the pot. Boil over high heat and strong. Once you put the pasta should be turned quickly because otherwise the pieces are glued to one another. The fire must remain high, but when the water resumes boil the fire goes a little lowered, so that the foam that forms no bait from the pot, but remains strong boiling up to the edge. This is one of the secrets.
“Al dente” means that you have to see in your plate spaghetti move like little snakes, as if they were alive. In the mouth must feel separately. This is achieved by controlling “the clock” time. Just before the exact moment, you take off a piece of spaghetti with a fork, cut in two with his nails, and you look at the center. If you see a white dot, it is uncooked flour. You’ll try again almost immediately and the white point will be smaller. As soon as the white point disappears, you must act quickly.
Drain the pasta very quickly, put into a bowl (pre-hot) with a little sauce. Add the rest of the sauce and stir quickly. Serve immediately while hot in hot plates.
It is a race with time. The residual heat should remain in the plate but should not increase the cooking.
b. Soft pasta is a northern product, very typic and traditional, often hand made, almost always made with one or two fresh eggs.
soft pasta done with tendre wheat flour need a different cooking method. Past should NEVER be cooked “al dente”, need to be soft, tendre and delicate.
Taglierini, tagliolini and tagliatelle are usually made for soupe. The pasta cooked in broth should always be tender and it would be impossible to keep al dente (tender that with the pasta would not even be good).
Similarly, the filled pasta (ravioli, agnolotti, ravioli, and also lasagne) must obtain the softness required to blend better with the other ingredients. The cooking should be longer and the cooking time is less rigid.
The boil does not have to be strong, the ravioli are to be turned over very gently with a slotted spoon. They must be drained gently, trying not to break them.
The lasagne, in the traditional recipe are cooked separately, al dente, one by one, and place on a clean towel to dry. Then they put in the baking dish, alternating the filling already cooked. We adds a little milk or white sauce (besciamelle, but little) because it does not dry out too much in the oven and sprinkle with parmesan au gratin.
“Throwing pasta on walls is for clowns. Don’t do it. We don’t.” I agree. What film have you seen lately?